Monday, August 8, 2011

26 films: Ed's Next Move

        Ed’s Next Move is one those rare rom-coms where the man in the couple is not a complete moron. In fact Ed is a scientist who after getting dumped by his girlfriend back in Wisconsin, moves to New York to take a new job. As with Love and Other Catastrophes Ed’s Next Move the story of a Gen X guy who is looking for a new life in the city, a place to live and of course a woman. All this is pretty standard territory so it’s how it’s played that matters, and Ed’s Next Move plays it better than most.

            The film not only get’s the Com side of things right with several laughs, mostly of the situational variety, but it get’s the Rom side of the form right with a light touch. The film presents us with two people who are genuine and real, who stumble though their first couple of meetings and when Ed asks her out she doesn’t say no exactly, just indicates that she thought he was nice, and he back pedals and shuts down his request and hangs up… only she keeps popping up, and finally Ed stumbles onto her band, a quirky indie group called Ed’s Redeeming Qualities (who I am thinking came before the film), they are one of those bands who could only exists in the 90s (ok maybe in the 60s also, but mostly the 90s).

            I need to pause here and talk about the music in the film. The films score is mostly a fun up beat jazz, and are a nice change from the more common string arraignments. The real story here is the songs, which we will get to later this week as I am covering the soundtrack for the Thursday post (there are a couple of film/soundtrack parings that I am going to be covering in the near future)… but sufficient to say that I liked the soundtrack enough that I own it. Callie Thorne, who plays the female half of the duo, acquits herself well as Lee, a musician even taking lead on a song or two.

            I should also add that, the VHS tape starts off very wisely with a ad for the soundtrack --- more videos/DVDs should take the time to advertise the soundtrack, or the books the film is based on or what ever that is tied to the film and not just the other flicks that the company is currently releasing.

            Which leads me to talk about Callie Throne who was the reason that I saw this film in the first place. I have to admit that I was smitten when she arrived on the series Homicide: Life on the Street as former Seattle Detective Ballard. She’s likely best known these days for her roles on The Wire and Rescue Me where she plays an middle age woman who’s life is in flux. Here she is younger, more naive, un jaded, fresh and adorable beyond belief. She’s a charming presence and her performance here is enough to make me wish that she had gotten more opportunities to play these kinds of roles. I also like that just as Ed is socially awkward, she has her moments of less than complete composure.

            Speaking of Ed, he’s played affably by Matt Ross (best known for Big Love), and he also has a presence that makes me wish that he’d been able to play more leading men in light comedies.  I wonder what the entertainment world would be like if he had become the kind of leading man that Matt Damon or Brad Pitt have?  He carries the mid-west kid in the city with just the right touch.  He’s not a complete rube, but has several moments where he’s obviously a stranger in his new world.

            There is a lot of things I could write about the film, but I would just like to point out the comedy bits about relationships that Woody Allen might have included in his early funny roles. There are couple of little asides which are fun in a first season of Six Feet Under way. The film also contains the realist date from hell I have ever seen. It’s not that it is a complete failure because of contrivances, but due to a few little, and very funny moments. I am sure that someone somewhere had once of the reasons happen to them.

             It had not dawned on me that there are a couple elements the film shares with Love and Other Catastrophes. The montage of roommate hunting and the overly verbal women who spend their time at parties going on about some out there theory appear in both films.  There is also a spirit and sense of youthful energy and creativity that carries the few thiner points in the film.

     As with so many of the films from the 90s that I have covered this is very much a time capsule of at time and a place and a way a generation lived and loved…. but really I just want to encourage people to take the time and seek this great flick out, only it’s not on DVD.

Check back Thur for a full review of the soundtrack


pattinase (abbott) said...

And we don't have a VCR any more. Too bad.

Iren said...

so sad.... maybe someone will get this wonderful film on streaming or something... or it might pop up on cable somewhere. I wonder if it's going to end up on one of those 3 films featuring Matt Ross or Callie Thorne that you find at Target or BN.

Todd Mason said...

Well, now that Thorne is wasting her time on NECESSARY ROUGHNESS (at least as the star of that series, which in turn isn't as bad as its companion among the new series on the USA cable channel, FAIRLY LEGAL --and after Sarah Shahi had done well on THE L WORD and brilliantly on LIFE, too), there might be a Thorne revival or upsurge. I sure was happy to see her go from HOMICIDE to THE WIRE, though it was a pity how small her role was in the latter. I'll definitely take the opportunity to see this as it presents itself.